These factors give rise to the popular image of rural protesters calling for
reform and pointing to class economic conflicts, such as the speculator versus
the honest hardworking farmer. However, Batchelor's study shows that farm
protest in the Red Deer region was fomented by men of education, business
ability, social status, and financial success. These complaints were most vocal
in periods where low commodity prices met with depressed real estate values. The
cooperative organizations that matured in later reform movements associated with
the United Farmers of Alberta, among others, were delayed by traditional liberal
attitudes to individual rights in making marketing decisions.
The experience of new arrivals to Western Canada gave rise to reform movements
that were important in the region, embodied in organizations such as the United
Farmers of Alberta and the United Farm Women of Alberta. These reform movements
can be regarded in part as attempts to mould a new and and cohesive society that
was more egalitarian than existed in central Canada or Britain, although founded
upon the ideals of British parliamentary government and Protestant Christianity.
These reform movements were based on the principles of social gospel,
prohibition and women's rights movements. The Social Gospel was a movement to
create a just society based on biblical principles and progressive politics. The
prohibition movement aimed to eradicate the detrimental effects of alcohol by
having it lawfully banned. The movement was successful in this in the years
after World War I. Finally, the women's rights movements strove to obtain basic
democratic and property rights for women.